Author Topic: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.  (Read 2557 times)

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WP_Railfan

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Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« on: January 15, 2013, 02:03:49 AM »
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I'm looking for some recommendations to weather my AC-12 and other steam locomotives. I can weather Diesels and freight cars but I've never weathered steam and looking for some help.

mmagliaro

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 04:16:27 AM »
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This is an awfully broad topic.   Kalmbach sells a book called, "Steam locomotive details and weathering".  You can buy it as
an electronic download (pdf) from their online store for about $12.  Just search the web for that and you'll find it.
It is just a collection of old articles on steam loco detailing and weathering, but it does have  a lot of good tips
and guidelines in it.

Beyond that, I will toss out some rambling thoughts. 

1. Airbrush.   Very light oversprays of light colors, like "concrete" or shades of light tan
 do a great job of lightening up the drivers and undercarriage so
they show better.   More spray will give you a light dusty look.  I like to spray along the bottom in horizontal passes, working my way up the engine, and making more passes along the bottom than further up, so it looks like there's more dirt down low.    Sprays over the front and top look good too. 

******    My best advice here is to take a JUNKER and play around until you learn what you like.   ******
******   Do not turn an airbrush on an important model for the first time you try this!                    ******

I have had good success with spraying the whole thing, fully assembled, drivers and all, a long as the engine is RUNNING the whole time.   Go lightly on the driver/rod area, but it works.  The trick is to keep it running all the time.  Put it up on blocks with some clip leads
to run the engine.  And keep it running for at least an hour after painting so the paint CAN'T (edit!) stick anywhere on the moving joints.
I thought this was kind of nuts, but after I tried it, I loved it.  Sometimes, a drop or two of oil are needed on the running gear
joints and valve slider to make sure paint doesn't gum it all up.   It's okay to stop it for a few seconds after painting, put a few drops
of oil here and there, and then start it right back up.

2. Weathering powders.   I have since migrated to using powders instead of the airbrush.  I find it easier to control and a lot
less work. 

3.  Study lots of color photos of steam engines and look at where you see rust marks, streaks of whitish residue from water,
oily sooty areas,  dry dirty dusty areas.

I don't think I can be of any more use, so I'll shut up now.  It's such a huge topic.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 12:02:04 PM by mmagliaro »

WP_Railfan

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 12:46:36 PM »
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That actual helps a lot. I'm trying to go for the look of being in the service during the 50's maintained just enough. I have seen photos of models where the loco looks gray and that doesn't look right to me. Well of to look for a junker to practice on. 

mmagliaro

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 04:04:59 PM »
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I'm not much for the "gray" look either.  I think they should basically be black, with weathering applied on TOP of the black.

Faded, dirty black is not gray.   

Definitely investigate Neolube (from Micro-Mark).  That stuff can make a weathered
metallic surface like nothing else can, IMHO.  I wouldn't use it on a whole engine, but on smokeboxes, firebox bottom edges,
rods, and miscellaneous appliances on the engine, it's fabulous.

Since we're getting more specific, my favorite steam loco colors are (in no particular order),
Floquil Engine Black, Floquil Weathered Black,  Tamiya TS-6 right from the spray can, and when I was doing Pennsy,
Scalecoat colors were fantastic (PRR Brunswick Green).

I like oversprays of Floquil Concrete for weathering.

For powders, I use Doc O'Brien's from Micro-Mark.  I have also tried some Bragdon.  Both seem to work great.  I stick
with the mid-tone grays, very light applications of white for highlights, and grimy/sooty/engine-whatever-they-callit black powders
to tone down any red/yellow/silver surfaces.

My last bit of remark... I try to think about what happens to the locomotive as it moves.   I don't even know if this is right,
but it seems to me that as it moves down the track, dirt
and dust will hit it face-on and tend to blow up and around the top and sides, so when I airbrushed, I tried to spray that way,
hit the airbrush trigger and make passes from right to left (with the engine nose on the right), trailing off as I went toward the back
of the engine.   More passes lower down and fewer as I moved up. 
Similar light sprays on the tender truck sideframes, just enough to bring out the detail.

Again, I find it easier to do all this with powders now.

Little streaks of dirty white and even a bit or very faded orange by valves or the domes and the pipe connections.
If you are modeling a loco in A-1 shape, then it might not have any leaks or rust, but you said 1950s, being maintained "just enough",
so things would start getting dirty... a little leaky, or rusty.   

Maybe some of this will wrankle some dissenting opinions, and some other posters will chime in here to help.

Lemosteam

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 07:05:16 PM »
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Nope, no dissention, just enjoying getting schooled!  I'm waiting for the video Max! :D
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 09:43:03 PM by Lemosteam »

Gen

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2013, 09:35:00 PM »
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Here's an HO tutorial, still worth a look:

http://www.westportterminal.de/blog/blog07-12.html

CoalPorter

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 11:26:57 PM »
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Just be carefull if you airbrush directly on the model - fine mist can
get just about everywhere inside the model, then you need to tare
it down to clean - trust me, i did this before.  :o
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mmagliaro

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 05:21:02 AM »
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Just be carefull if you airbrush directly on the model - fine mist can
get just about everywhere inside the model, then you need to tare
it down to clean - trust me, i did this before.  :o

Ouch!
Yes, when I tried it, I really wondered if I was crazy.  I did this to my I-1. But no, nothing untoward happened.  It just kept
running fine on a little stand I made for it, hooked to a 9v battery to keep it chugging.   I painted it in a big open garage.
Maybe that helps (lots of space around it, no spray booth).

But this is yet another reason I am happier to do this with powders now.


muktown128

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 07:08:18 AM »
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Max,

What do you use for applying the weathering powders?  Is there a particular brush and/or several different applicators that you use to get the desired effect?

Do you apply a clearcoat to fix the weathering powders in place?  I have used pastel chalks, but I am interested in the weathering powders since I don't have an airbrush set up yet.

Thanks

Scott

mmagliaro

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2013, 01:30:21 AM »
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My favorites for applying weathering powders are an artists brush with short, fairly stiff bristles in a larger (about 1/4" diameter)
round pattern,  then a very soft little makeup brush like you'd find in a makeup compact in the cosmetics department,
and finally, an old toothbrush.   I find that a brush with some stiffness can sometimes help burnish the powders into
the surface really well, but sometimes, I don't want to go too heavy with the weathering, so I use the makeup brush.

I do not apply any dull spray or overcoat when I'm done.  I know that in theory, that really should be needed to keep
the powders in place.  But my experience is that the clear coat almost completely obliterates the effect of the
powder, or completely changes how it looks, so I find it impossible to get the weathering "just right", then clear coat it,
and have anything near what I want.   If the powders are applied to flat finish paints, they really dig in and I don't have
any problems with it coming off.  In fact, if you get a smudge on your workbench, good luck getting it out of there!  A porous
surface works best, so flat paints are the ticket.  If I have a glossy model, hit it with Dullcote and let throughly dry before
applying the powders... HOWEVER.. that still doesn't work as well as flat paint.  A coat of Floquil solvent based paint
makes a really fine, dull, very porous finish that powders love.  Dullcote tends to make a dull, but smoother, finish.

Here are weathering powders on a Trix B6.  This is the one that really started it all for me, when I was convinced
I wanted to switch to powder.  There's nothing elaborate or inventive about this weathering.  No streaks, accents, etc.
But just the ease with which I could give the engine a "dusty, in-service" look, and bring out all the details of
the rivets and undercarriage, and I was sold.








« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 08:02:28 PM by mmagliaro »

mike_lawyer

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2013, 12:29:09 PM »
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I did the weathering of the drivers of my I1 using an airbrush.  In fact, it was my first airbrush of a steam locomotive.

I did the same thing as Max.  I ran the engine at moderate speed and sprayed light layers of concrete on the drivers.  I then let the engine run for about 2 hours to let the paint set.

I then had to apply a drop of lubricating oil to the driver crankpins and everything worked like a charm.

chicken45

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2013, 01:24:42 PM »
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Max,
Just out of curiosity, how far down the Pennsy alphabet did you get? I know you ended with T, but how many consecutive letters did you build?

Josh
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Lemosteam

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 02:52:23 PM »
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Never having done any weathering on this loco, what would you suggest I do to weather this:


mmagliaro

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2013, 03:11:38 PM »
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Replying in reverse....

On that K4, part of it depends on how "in its prime" you want it to be.  Let's assume you want to
show the Pennsy in their glory, so it won't look like a dirty hulk that is 1-2 years away from being
phased out by diesels.

In that case, it's a passenger engine and would generally be kept very clean.  As such, I would use light
tans or light grays to put some mild dust/dirt along the bottom half and drivers, on the pilot and pilot beam,
and some mild black across that red cab roof (smoke and dirt to tone down the bright red). 

On the tender, tender trucks,  pilot wheels and trailing truck, I would use VERY light application of white to
bring out the highlights on the trucks and the rivets.  Just the slightest touch of white powder on that tender
will make it really pop.  You don't want it to look "white".  White powder, if very conservatively applied,
just brings highlights and looks a bit gray.

Other ideas... some mild whitish residue around the whistle and steam dome, and on the sides of the cylinders
to represent lime deposits from all the water and steam.

I found this:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lionel682/3885813060/sizes/l/in/photostream/

This one is very clean, but in 1988, it was actually running.  Note the areas of mild brown rust, and
also how the rods and wheels have a tannish look to them, not bright.  The tan dusty look goes up to
the walkway, but then it's a little cleaner and blacker above there.



 

mmagliaro

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Re: Weathering steam locomotives help needed.
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2013, 03:18:25 PM »
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Max,
Just out of curiosity, how far down the Pennsy alphabet did you get? I know you ended with T, but how many consecutive letters did you build?

Josh

I have A, B, D, E, G, H, I, L, M, T

I don't have "E" anymore, because it became my SP&S Atlantic.

My next target was the N2.  I was going to make it from a Con-Cor 2-10-2, which I spiffed up mechanically
with a new motor (out of necessity after it fried), extensively modified axles (to fix its issues with the
axles hanging up in the bearings and derailing on curves), and tender pickups with little springs on the tangs,
which was a trick Victor uncovered.

After that would have been F-1 from a Model Power Mogul.

I also collected photos, drawings and some Con-Cor Hudson carcasses to make a mighty Q-1
(yes, the one-of-a-kind Q-1, not the more numerous Q-2).   

These are all off the schedule now.  The Q-1, someday I will probably build, just because it is such
an unusual machine.